Burning the Midnight Oil

I’m writing this post in the caravan, it’s 5:48 am, the blinds are up, and the dawn light is beginning to flood the beautiful Warwickshire countryside. I have fallen in love with the mornings and the new possibilities each one brings.

I used to see myself as a “night-time” person. I saw virtue in burning the midnight oil. But doing what? In my fantasy, I was working late, grinding out the hours. But the reality was very different.

I realised I was wasting a lot of time in the evening. I would get home from work, tired and flop in front of my iPad, eating junk food and binge-watching a boxset, or browsing social media. I might continue until midnight and then crash out. Sleeping badly, and then wake up at the last minute, rushing off to work the next morning.

Do you recognise this pattern? Are you guilty of watching TV slumped on the sofa after a day at work? Or are you endlessly scrolling through social media posts long into the night? How, do these mindless activities get you any closer to your dreams or goals?

Since January I have been following a different plan, and it has changed my life.  The first thing was to understand that TV or browsing social media keeps you awake, long after we should be asleep. It suppresses our natural, biological sleep mechanisms.

Now I’m a bit extreme here, so my answer was to delete all the TV apps off my iPad. But you might say I won’t watch TV or look at Facebook after 8 pm for example. Making this commitment sets in motion an entirely different kind of evening routine.

You relax, have a bath, unwind slowly, light a candle, plan your day tomorrow, read a book, take the time to review your day. Then when you are tired. Go to sleep. Don’t fight tiredness trying to stay up late, just because you have always gone to sleep at 11 pm for example.

I started doing this and my sleep time has got earlier and earlier. Now I’m in bed by 8 pm and always asleep before 8:30 pm. Yes, I’m a bit bonkers and extreme. But you get the idea.

The exciting thing about doing this is the effect on your mornings because you will start to wake up early, feeling very awake and alive and raring to get started. It is life changing because this extra time in the morning is incredibly valuable as you are not tired so you can use it to work on your goals and dreams.

Its so simple, but so powerful. You are swopping crappy, tired evening time in front of the TV for awake, amazing, focused time in the morning. Your day is not longer, it just shifts an hour or two earlier. In simple terms go to sleep a bit earlier and get up a bit earlier.

It’s the most amazing change I have ever made in my life and has had the biggest single impact on my movement towards my goals. I hope that you will give it a try. You will see immediate benefits as you can use the powerful morning hours to work on your dreams and goals.  Long before others believe, you must believe it’s possible. Remember, we climb the mountain, not in giant leaps but one small step at a time.

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